In recent weeks, new Federal Communication Commission rules took effect to further protect consumers under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA). The changes ordered by the FCC are designed to protect consumers from unwanted autodialed or pre-recorded telemarketing calls, also known as "telemarketing robocalls." The new TCPA rules accomplish four main things:
- Require prior written consent for all autodialed or pre-recorded telemarketing calls to wireless numbers and residential lines.
- Require mechanisms to be in place that allow consumers to opt out of future robocalls even if during the middle of a current robocall.
- Limit permissible abandoned calls on a per-calling campaign basis in order to discourage intrusive calling campaigns.
- Exempt from TCPA requirements calls made to residential lines by health care related entities governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
The seriousness of these new regulations and the impact they will have on the lead generation industry are significant, and will shape the way marketers operate for many years to come. The regulations also could cause many companies in the space to fail for noncompliance. When the TCPA legislation was first passed in 1991, it prevented consumers from receiving calls, voice and text messages, and other types of telephone communication from unwanted parties and telemarketers. This new regulation requires written consent from the public at large and businesses for telemarketers to call consumers and advertisers.
Like anything else, when there is a significant change in the marketplace or in life in general, there is an opportunity to capitalize and innovate. For example, mobile campaigns—ones that direct the public to a landing page—are exempt from the TCPA guidelines. Pushing various audiences to a landing page has been proven successful in previous research, especially when the landing page is filled with numerous facts/figures and a fury of information. Our theory is that by showing the disclaimers and showing the actual company to whom consent is given, the level of trust between the consumer and the company increases, therefore people are inclined to continue the process.